Mosquito-borne virus warning for WA

The WA Health department is warning people to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in the state's South West region after the Barmah Forest virus was detected.

The debilitating mosquito-borne Barmah Forest virus has been detected in Western Australia's South West region, prompting a warning to residents and travellers.

The virus was detected for the first time this mosquito season by the health department's mosquito and virus surveillance program.

"The detection coincides with increases in mosquito numbers in coastal areas of the South West linked to the recent warmer spring weather," managing scientist of environmental health hazards Michael Lindsay said.

He also said a high number of cases of Ross River virus had been reported by Perth residents in recent weeks.

Barmah Forest is similar but less severe than Ross River, although symptoms are similar and can last weeks or months.

The diseases can only be diagnosed with a blood test and neither has a cure.

Source: AAP

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